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Wind farm projects off Suffolk coast ‘should not be achieved at any cost’, councils warn

Suffolk councils say they remain ‘deeply concerned’ about the impact of proposed wind farm schemes off its coast, and the ‘lack of co-ordination’ with other planned energy projects.

Speaking in response to ScottishPower Renewables wind farm plans, Suffolk County Council and Suffolk Coastal District Council said they continued to support the principle of offshore wind to reduce carbon emissions and provide significant economic benefits in the county and the UK, but said that this “should not be achieved at any cost to Suffolk”.

Reports have been jointly written and will be presented at each authority’s upcoming cabinet meetings, in response to ScottishPower Renewables proposals for the East Anglia Offshore Windfarms One (North) and Two.

The reports raise a wide range of concerns about them, including impact on land and seascapes.

Councillor Geoff Holdcroft, Suffolk Coastal District Council’s deputy leader, said: “Whilst these large wind farms greatly benefit the country as a whole and will undoubtedly have some benefit to the wider Suffolk economy through new jobs and the supply chain, we do not want to see that happening at the expense of our fragile, unique landscape and established local communities.

“We stand shoulder to shoulder with our colleagues at Suffolk County Council and will continue to raise our huge raft of concerns about these winddfarm projects.”

Councillor Richard Rout, cabinet member for environment and public protection at Suffolk County Council, said the projects, along with other significant developments such as Sizewell C, could see up to 30% of the UK’s energy delivered through Suffolk, but at a national level, the government needed to take a clear leadership role to develop “a more strategic view” of all energy projects on and off the Suffolk coast.

“Considering each one in isolation does not seem to make sense and increases the environmental impact and the impact on local communities,” he said.

“At a local level, there are many issues and we maintain that siting an onshore substation at Friston is not the right location.”

But a spokeswoman for ScottishPower Renewables said East Anglia ONE offshore wind farm was already delivering significant economic benefits, and East Anglia TWO and East Anglia ONE North would deliver even more.

“These two projects alone could provide enough clean energy to power the equivalent of 1.5m homes, playing a key role in helping to meet the UK’s carbon reduction targets and tackle climate change. Throughout all of our projects in the area, we have worked closely with all local stakeholders including the council, local communities and regulatory bodies and will continue to engage with them on the points raised in this report.”

ScottishPower Renewables Phase 4 Consultation on the proposed East Anglia ONE North offshore wind farm project will run until March 29.

This consultation phase is based around a draft Environmental Statement which sets out the proposed infrastructure and its potential impacts, taking into account the environmental, social and economic effects of the project and the mitigation measures proposed to reduce impacts.